Over 100 volunteers, Leon County Government and the city of Tallahassee workers gathered to plant more than 165 native trees in celebration of Arbor Day on Saturday, Jan. 20.
Volunteers gathered at Leon County’s Apalachee Regional Park, located at 7550 Apalachee Parkway, to increase the number of trees in the area and learn proper planting techniques from gardeners in the community. Together they planted large shade trees such as Live Oak, Nuttall Oak and Black Tupelo.
A professor in Florida A&M University’s (FAMU) Health and Physical Education department, Dr. Steve Chandler, along with students from his park management class attended. Chandler explained to his students that Leon County’s Apalachee Regional Park is classified as a reclamation park that transitioned from one of Tallahassee’s waste sites into a public location for recreational use.
“Planting trees is about restoring the environment and restoring nature, so people in the future can have a place to play and a place to recreate,” Chandler said. “Arbor Day is fun, because it gives us the opportunity to participate in community volunteerism. It gives the students from FAMU the opportunity to meet people out of their sphere, including other environmental advocates in the community.”
Ann Bidlingmaier, one of the founders of Tallahassee’s Arbor Day, said she is considered a master gardener and conservation activist in the community. Tallahassee’s Arbor Day was founded in 1983 on Thomasville Road.
She explained that trees are a necessity to the environment because they play a major role in photosynthesis, control erosion, act as a habitat for wildlife and provide shade.
“We started Arbor Day to compensate for the clearcutting developers were doing in the community,” Bidlingmaier said. “It is important to continue to put trees back into the environment, not take them out.”
Arbor Day tree planting events will help Leon County reach their goal of planting 5,000 trees by 2021. Each year Leon County and the City of Tallahassee alternate spearheading the annual Arbor Day tree planting event.
Dean Richards, a superintendent from Leon County Public Works, noted the collaborative partnerships between government agencies, county agencies and private sector companies to achieve one common goal – to get as many trees in the ground as possible.
“We’re just doing our part in this time to ensure all the environmental benefits of planting trees are continued,” Richards said. “I look forward to being able to drive by this park, see the trees planted today and know that I had a part in that process.”